Thursday, July 31, 2008

Batman III Thoughts

So obviously The Dark Knight is doing well for itself - totally making Spider-Man his bitch at the box office. This has fueled no small amount of speculation about the 3rd movie in the series.

Especially over at Cinematical, where there's been at least 3 posts about who Batman should face next, or rumours to that effect.

Some interesting points in the comments (I have double-checked none of these, so can't vouch for accuracy):

- WB has been aggressively protecting Catwoman and Harley Quinn copyrights recently it seems
- Aaron Eckhart is signed for two films
- There was a character named Reese (or Mr. Reese = Mysteries = Riddler?) who could be in a position to do some damage

Throw in some plot details (could be spoilers, but I told you to go see the movie already):

- Batman/Bruce Wayne has a window for a love interest now
- The crime family situation in Gotham is up for grabs (whether or not Sal is still alive)
- There have always been at least two "name" villains in Nolan's movies so far (Scarecrow and Ra's Al Ghul, Joker and Two-Face)
- Along with those villains, there's been a gangster - Carmine Falcone in the 1st and Sal Maroni in the 2nd.
- Joker is still alive

So the popular choices seem to have Talia Al Ghul show up, and then toss in a Riddler or Catwoman. Bear in mind that Ra's Al Ghul is essentially immortal (if his followers found him and got him to a Lazarus pit in time...), but that could be stretching it for Nolan's universe, where people don't have superpowers. Lots of people want Two-Face back, although I thought it was pretty obvious he was dead, but that could be worked around. There's also some people who think Heath can be replaced, since nobody really saw Heath Ledger, they saw the Joker.

Me? I suggested Black Mask and that seems to have some support too.

I think Talia Al Ghul doesn't work. She's far too obscure for the general public, and with her connection to the first movie, she'd have to have a major role. Plus, it doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense plot development-wise.

You need at least one classic Rogues Gallery baddie, and I think Riddler and Catwoman work best. Penguin COULD work, but he doesn't strike me as menacing enough. Catwoman wouldn't necessarily work as the main though.

Depending how long they can make the series work without destroying it, I'd push for a Black Mask and Catwoman 3rd movie, with Riddler maybe in the distant background preparing for the 4th.

In the comics, Black Mask consolidates and controls the Gotham crime syndicates, which would be easy to to with their current state. Joker burnt half their money, killed a few of the leaders, and the guy who knew where the rest of the cash was. Sal Maroni is possibly dead, and the rest are scared. So in steps Black Mask to bring it all back together.

Meanwhile, Bruce is lamenting Rachel, and Batman is a fugitive. In steps Catwoman - an incredibly skilled thief who isn't exactly evil, just bad. The standard love story between her and Bats/Bruce comes into play, especially since he's now seen as an outlaw himself.

Mr. Reese meanwhile is going nuts after the attempts on his life, and conflicted over Bruce Wayne saving him, despite his threats to identify Batman. The constant conflict and questioning leads him off the deep end as The Riddler... but he's for the 4th. But then, Joshua Harto isn't that big a name, do you trust him with a major villain? The whole Coleman Reese angle could be nothing though, but I was intrigued by it.

Now Two-Face was awesome. I hope he's dead, but if he's not, then it provides an easy way to clear Batman's name and he has the continued causes of fighting the gangs and Batman with his own special brand of crazy. ESPECIALLY if Catwoman is in the movie and he now has something he can take away from Bruce/Bats.

I have faith in Nolan to not Spidey 3 this thing with too many villains. If Black Mask gets relegated to the "gangster" category of Carmine and Sal, then you can still have Catwoman and Riddler or Two-Face and maintain the balance of the previous films.

Then there's Anthony Michael Hall's character Mike Engel... if he's alive, he's got to have some issues too now, but he'd likely become a tabloid reporter with a vendetta against Batman - blaming him for the escalation that created Joker. Because with Batman on the run and a known figure in Gotham, the media has to fit in somewhere.

I just hope Bat Manuel stays mayor.

I guess we'll all know in a couple years who will be what.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vote For Mookie!

I've been meaning to put this up for a bit, and keep forgetting.

Vote Mookie! (for Canadian Idol... beats me, I don't watch the show). Or go read Mookie! The latter is probably more entertaining.

One Of Those Nights

Now we sit through Shakespeare in order to recognize the quotations.
- Orson Welles

That one's for Falstaff, and has no bearing on the post.

Got home, boiled some white corn on the cob, threw together a fruit compote and then snacked on bits and pieces of whatever I had kicking around. Did laundry, changed cat's litter, and sat down in time for the Skill Series, because it was PLO, and I loves me some PLO.

I may do up something Asian-like tonight.

PirateLawyer told me to have fun and that he wanted to repeat. I knew right then he was in trouble. Seated a few seats to my left, I had nothing but fun driving him nuts as he critiqued my starting hand selection in IM. That alone was worth the price of admission :).

Went out 10th when my flopped sevens full of kings went down to Jec's rivered Kings full of Aces. Ah well, 'tis Omaha for you, and I got in ahead, although barely by more than a coin flip.

The Mookie tonight! I plan to have more fun, although I'd like to move up the leaderboard a bit, especially after bubbling last week. If nothing else, I hope I'm seated with Waffles so I can watch the fun as he tries to dethrone LJ.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wrong Wardrobe

I've been accused of writing about clothes in the past. I don't think I ever have. Probably because I suck when it comes to clothes, I owe any semblance of fashion-sense to my best friend/style consultant.

Case-in-point: Last night I was out for sushi, behind my friend was a table of two girls. To my left was a table with a guy and a girl. All were probably in their early 20's. The two girls finished their meal, got up, and left. Then they came back and approached the other table. One girl asked, "Excuse me, are you two a couple?" The response was a no. "Oh, (to the guy) then would you like to go out later tonight?"

"I have to work really early in the morning, sorry."

"Oh, okay, well, maybe see you around later then."

The guy was wearing a white wife-beater and trucker cap, skinny, the facial hair of a 12 year-old trying to grow his first moustache, and would blend into any crowd of skinny white guys.

I think I'll stay out-of-touch fashionwise if that's considered attractive.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Do Not Fear

As I said earlier, I've given those New York Times chocolate chip cookies a try, and was underwhelmed. They weren't terrible cookies, and the texture was fantastic. Perhaps it was the mix of 70% cocao wafers, and bittersweet and semi-sweet baker's chocolate. I think it was more likely the salt content... since they're too salty.

Of course, I still have a bunch of the stuff in my freezer. But once that's gone, I'll play around with the recipe. Screw dropping that kind of cash on chocolate, or using coarse salt, or even making that much dough.

Nope, next time will have semi-sweet chocolate, maybe some white chocolate, and maybe even some skor pieces or butterscotch chips, and there will be less of it. It will also have less salt, and it won't be coarse. I'll also be halving the amounts. Why half? Because the recipe calls for 2 eggs, and it's tough to change that to less than 1 egg.

And I have no problem with this. Why? Because I know that the salt content and chocolate choice will only affect taste, not the texture and other good aspects. And if it's somehow terrible (which it won't be)? I can toss it out, knowing I've only got about $5 worth of ingredients in there (vs the over $25 in the current batch).

People are terrified of changing recipes. This makes some sense when baking, because baking involves a lot more chemistry. You can't adjust the baking soda or yeast too much without affecting rising ability. Too much corn starch or flour and you'll be wondering why it's so dense. There's a reason buttermilk and regular milk aren't really interchangeable, or why lemon juice instead of vinegar creates browner crusts. But once you understand what each ingredient contributes, you can face changes with less trepidation. This is why mom's meatloaf is different than grandma's - she changed something because she liked it more that way.

The same idea applies to lots of things in life, but this is primarily a poker blog, so I'll relate to that.

The best player to play against is the one who plays by a book. They are obsessed with the "right" way to play hands, or perhaps are more advanced and focus on how to play types of players. Regardless of how they play, they never change their recipe. A check-raise preflop means aces... every time. A bet means they have something. Or a big bet means they have nothing. Any variety of styles could come into play, depending on the player. The aggro bluffer will keep aggro bluffing. The rock will do his best impression of Gibraltar. Sometimes this is by choice, but usually it's out of fear.

They don't understand the ingredients in how they play. They just know that aggressive poker is winning poker. Or that it's hard to lose with the nuts, and you don't want your opponents draws to catch, because Phil Gordon or Dan Harrington told them so. They might know that the weak-tight person across from them will fold anything but premium hands and keep playing against them. However, they'll never grow as a player. At best, they'll just adopt a new style and stick to that. This makes them incredibly exploitable.

Don't be that player. Understand what works and what doesn't, and WHY it does or doesn't, and adapt accordingly. Are people folding whenever you have aces? Maybe it's because you ONLY play premium hands and they know it. Use this to your advantage by bluffing once in awhile. How the hell could that donkey call your push with only 2nd pair? Maybe because you push every orbit with position and he's got a read on you now, your game needs less pushing.

What you'll find is that eventually you'll find the right balance for you, and it will be unlike anyone else's game. There will be complexity and layers that make sense to you, but others will wonder about. Of course, your game will one day be less workable as people adjust to it. Or you'll just get bored of it. No different than getting tired of the same cookies. This is the time you get to mix it up a bit to find a new way that works - often, even the most subtle changes can have vastly different results.

After all, a chocolate chip cookie is just flour, egg, sugar, salt, fat, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate chips, but no two people make the same batch. If 8 ingredients can be combined in such a variety of ways, just think how variable your poker game can be.

Jazz, Thai, and Poker

Another summer weekend goes by with me wiped out on Monday.

Friday - Beaches Jazz Festival. Yes, Toronto has beaches. No, you really don't want to swim in them. But the area known as "The Beach(es)" is a nice place to walk around. Lots of bars, restaurants, funky stores, people-watching, boardwalk, etc.. Every year they hold a weekend jazz festival and close off Queen St. so the thousands of attendees can walk around. It's crowded, busy, and usually a good time.

But you know what they were SEVERELY lacking this year? Jazz.

Swing, Blues, Soul, Reggae, South-American pan flutes, "jazzed up" classic rock and pop, and more blues-based rock... but where was the jazz to be found? Oh, there it is! In the form of Big Band and the Crooner-style (think Sinatra, Bennett, etc.)... and some Amy Winehouse (Rehab of course). Come ON people! Where's my Coltrane? Getz? Gillespie? Ella? Satchmo? Peterson? One interesting acid-jazz-fusion version of Drive Time, and a big-bandy Don't Get Around Much Anymore doesn't make the quota! It used to be that every corner had a small band playing JAZZ at the JAZZ festival, they weren't always good, but at least they were playing the music the fest was named after! Now it's a bunch of bands that don't recognize the defining lines between musical forms of a similar era. I'd be less perturbed if they just renamed the thing to the "Beaches Music Festival".

Saturday was me sleeping in most of the day, then not getting dressed, then rushing to get out of the house to a friend's birthday dinner at a Thai place in a largely Italian suburb. I love my city and it's surrounding area. Dinner was decent, if a bit bland for Thai (basil chicken was good though, which would explain why it was the first thing finished). The night would have been the usual affair with this group except for one major announcement from a buddy. I won't reveal it here since you never know who's reading, but it could certainly have repercussions among some people in that group.

Sunday - Poker! Went to the regular home game (3rd in a row, a new record for me). This is a pretty soft affair to be honest. I came in 2nd, making 3 straight final tables, 1 win, and this cash in 3 visits. 2nd place put me back on top of the TOC leaderboard with only 1 or 2 more games to go, so my seat is safe.

The first hand of the tournament (rebuys for first 4 levels) saw me with 64s. I told everyone I had aces and they should just fold. One other guy says, "you too?" Flop brings A2x. We have around 4 or 5 guys see the flop. It checks around to me and I bet my aces to get one call (the "you too?" guy, who was last game's winner), I put him on Ax. Turn brings a 5, giving me a 6-high inside draw. He checks, I check. River is a beautiful 3, he bets, I raise enough to keep him in, and he thinks before calling. I show my straight and he flips his jackace. Everyone has a good laugh at my aces.

The next hand I find AKo, raise it preflop to no callers and show.

I give away some chips, get some back with a turned boat that nobody gives me action on, give away most of the rest when I decide my OESD against two all-ins is worth it (I was in much better shape than expected as they both had TP, no kicker), and then triple up with AJo. The next hand I push with A6s into AK that has me covered and rebuy.

I think I had another rebuy, but can't remember why...

Soon I see 66 and get in against the host, who is a decent player but hasn't really improved over the years I've played with him. Flop comes A59 rainbow and he bets a little over 1/2 the pot. I say "that's some bullshit 'I have AJ and want a call' bet, but I'm dealing and dirty." I called. Turn comes 7 giving me an inside draw. He goes all-in and I'm pot-committed in a rebuy so I call. He flips over 55 for the set and is amazed I'm still in with 66. I peel off the 8 on the river for my perfect-perfect straight and he throws up a little in his mouth.

I was my table's chipleader after the rebuy period ended, but the 2nd table had been more active than us and I would have sat 3rd or 4th there. It didn't take long before we merged to a final table and once again we were staring at some monster stacks sitting down with us. Perfect.

I doubled up against the biggest calling station in the game (and chipleader of course). I then took down one of my original tablemates with QQ vs his AQ on a brick of a flop (he just couldn't let go of one of the best hands he'd seen that day), and doubled up again against the same calling station. We were at the bubble of 4 pretty quickly and that held for a good 35 or 40 minutes. The bubble burst by the chipleader taking the 2nd place chipstack out (great). Then my QT rivered a T to beat the shortie's KQ.

HU was a mess. I had enough chips to make a move or two, but the chip differential was huge. I think I was able to take the blinds twice, once when he folded to my raise and once when he mucked his SB. I seriously wondered if this guy had ever made it HU before, constantly asking "am I big or small?" when he got the button, and min-raising all day. Knowing he'd call just about any raise or all-in from me, I couldn't push with 42o, 83o, T4o, etc.. I mucked a QT that I though might be good when he actually raised preflop, and finally decided J9 was good for a push... he called and showed JT. Neither of us improved and I was done in 2nd place.

I was upset the whole way home that I didn't have one decent HU hand to go to war with and instead let my stack dwindle. I was also upset with my J9 push when I redid the math and realized I could have held on a couple more hands. Ah well, 2nd ain't terrible, and I'm still feared there, but not for my starting hands.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mookie - 1 Hand

So I bubbled Los Mookie last night. Damn.

KQd, re-raise all-in vs MaggieO's 77.

Flop comes TdAdx. Inside straight draw, nut flush draw, and two overs. 17 outs twice (63.54%) don't hit and I'm done. Ah well. I blame Waffles.

I mean, it was Waffles who kept folding to IslandBum's tiny all-ins. And it was Waffles who kept isolating other people, forcing me to fold my absolutely crappy hands that would have rivered the nuts.

Yup, if not for Waffles, I'd have had at least 4x the chips and IB would have been out twice.

I think in retribution, I will leave an Eggo in the toaster until it is burnt.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On Science

Okay, my stance on the sucking of science is well-documented.

However, these t-shirts decidely do NOT suck.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Collateral Damage

I may never be able to watch a movie again after this clip.

I mean, how DO you file an insurance claim after something like that? Does the city reimburse you? Does Wayne Enterprises send an anonymous cheque?

Reminds of the henchmen special feature in Austin Powers. The poor families of the henchmen who get run over by steamrollers...

Brain Fog

You know those days where you feel like part of you is still lying at home in bed? That's today. I can't shake this brain fog I've got. It's very distracting.

Not much to talk about today. I baked some New York Times chocolate chip cookies last night and they turned out pretty well. I didn't think they were awesome, but comments from neighbours and co-workers have been positive. I'd think they were being polite, except they went for seconds. And these are big cookies.

What I find interesting is that they're definitely more than the sum of their parts. I used mostly Lindt 70% cocao chocolate in them, with 3 oz of bittersweet baker's chocolate and 3 oz of semisweet baker's to make up the weight (1 1/4 lbs of chocolate in this recipe). When the occasional piece of choclate breaks away, it tastes terrible (being generally unsweet), but when part of the whole cookie, it's pretty damned good.

The tricks this recipe employs are a long refrigeration period (36 hours) and some sea salt sprinkled on top (as well as coarse salt in the dough, which I found odd). The wait time is so the liquid from the egg can be fully absorbed by the dense cookie dough. In the end, it makes for a nice colour, and very rich cookie.

There are metaphors in there somewhere about improving things through combination and patience resulting in more fulfilling results I'm sure. Really, chocolate chip cookies are comfort food of the highest order.

Of course, I still have over a dozen balls of dough in my fridge. I shall either get fat or share.

Monday, July 21, 2008

More Craps

When playing craps, the advice always given is "play what you're comfortable risking." Nobody denies craps favours the house. The lure is that when it runs hot, you can make a killing. Also, it's LOADS of fun.

So most beginners will put the minimum odds behind their pass line bet. They won't put odds on come bets. My friends refuse to put odds on 4 and 10 come bets. They also still put small odds behind their pass line bets.

But here's some basic math.

The odds of rolling a 4 before a 7 is 2:1 (6 ways to roll a 7, 3 ways to roll a 4 - 6:3 = 2:1). Odds are the only bet in the casino that pays true odds, every other bet in the house carries a casino edge (think of it as implied rake).

So, every 3 times a 4 is a point, you should statistically hit it once and lose twice.

Let's pretend there's a $1 table for ease of math.

No odds, and you only bet $1:

You will lose $2 and win $1 every 3 rolls. So you risk $3 and end up with $2. 33% lost.

Minimum odds - $1 place, $1 odds:

You will lose $4 and win $3 (odds bet pays 2:1 remember). You've risked $6 and end up with $5. 16.67% lost, or half your losses from no odds.

2x odds - $1 place, $2 odds (what Seneca offers):

You will lose $6 and win $5. You've risked $9 and end up with $8. 11.1% lost, or a third of your losses from no odds.

3x odds - $1 place, $3 odds (the standard max odds for a 4 or 10 at most casinos):

You will lose $8 and win $7. You've risked $12 and end up with $11. 8.33% lost.

100x odds - $1 place, $100 odds:

You will lose $202 and win $201. You've risked $303 and end up with $302. 0.33% lost.

That's just for 4 or 10. 5 or 9 pay 3:2 and work similarly.

No odds - lose 20% every 5 rolls. 1x odds - 10%, 2x odds - 6.67%, 4x odds - 4%, 100x odds - 0.2%

6 or 8 pays 6:5.

No odds - 9% lost on 11 rolls. 1x odds - 4.5%, 2x - 3%, 5x - 1.5%, 100x - 0.09%


Something to bear in mind here of course - the house is still always statistically winning. It's just a question of how much. By the way, those percentages all equal one place bet, so there's no change in absolute value of your statisical loss, just what the house edge is.

Does this means craps is a losing venture? Of course it does... statistically speaking. You play because it's gambling. You play because you want the hot streak. You play because you get to cheer on your friends and the rest of the table and toss dice in the air hoping that they land with the right pips facing up. You play because it's fun.

Because sometimes, you win 2/3 times instead of losing 2/3 times. And in that case, those max odds pay off huge. That 4? One more win in those 3 rolls instead of a loss means you make 83% profit instead of losing 8.33%. Win all 3 rolls? 175%. No odds? You make 33% profit on 2 wins, and 100% profit on 3. On a $5 table, that's a $90 difference between no odds vs full odds. No wonder we keep coming back.

More Dark Knight

Something I didn't mention in my previous post, that again won't spoil much, if anything.

Jim Gordon's family is shown. His wife Barbara, son James, and daughter. His wife and son have lines and are shown on-screen. His daughter isn't named, and we only see the top of her head.

Just about everyone who's ever paid attention to Batman knows that Batgirl is Gordon's daughter Barbara. The fact that a potentially major future character is kept hidden was a nice touch in my opinion. We don't see a face, hear a voice, get an idea of age, or anything else that might mess up continuity if they decide to bring in Batgirl in a future installment.

Heck, with the ending of The Dark Knight playing the way it did, seeing Batgirl in the 3rd film could be useful... if the daughter is old enough.

And please don't go with Alicia Silverstone as your basis for "Batgirl sucks!" Because you'd be right if that was your only data point.

Now I Remember Why I Love Craps

Had a decent weekend. Condowarming BBQ on Friday night with some good friends, Saturday was spent mostly in the kitchen, followed by some bad beats online knocking me out of the 50-50, $4k PLO, and Midnight Madness (but cashed in a some $22 turbos), and Sunday was a trip to Niagara.

My friends and I were looking for $5 tables, a rarity in these parts. Calls were made - Fallsview? Nope. Niagara? Maybe. Rama? Yup. We opted to go for the maybe, since there was also Seneca across the border (more on that later). Niagara was running $5 at their only open table and we joined in.

2 hours later they upped it to $10 despite our protests and we left, having all more than doubled or rolls. Myself - up $600. All of the winnings came from my 4 buddies (who are all joining me in Vegas in December) going on a solid series of rolls. Fire bets were almost hit twice (enough points, just not enough individual ones), and I was double-betting their rolls because that's what friends do. The crew was tipped generously and they even tried to talk the floor into keeping the $5 to no avail. So the 5 of us left, taking the majority of the chips off the table, all the talk and fun, the tips, and half the players. We wandered by 20 minutes later and the crew was excited until we just waved and walked on.

Naturally, I hit my blazing 7's. After hitting the 777 for $300, I walked away from that, now up $780 on the day.

One friend decided to visit some family in the area and the rest of us opted to visit Seneca on the US side. We found it, coughed our way through the dense smoke and terrible ventilation, and found the craps tables. $10. But that's not the worst of it.

$10, heavy smoke, and only DOUBLE ODDS? Plus, no firebet, which is a sucker bet, but one I love playing when my friends are rolling or the table is hot. Pathetic. Seneca for craps? Not gonna happen. Actually, despite the aggressive expansion and promotion of the Seneca casino, it offers absolutely nothing of value as far as I'm concerned. It's mostly slots, it's confusingly laid out, doesn't cycle air well, and just feels... dirty. Methinks I'll stay on the good side unless maybe VinNay (have fun in Ireland) or Iakaris (have fun in India) refuse to cross to my side for a game.

I played some slots and lost $140 ($20 of which to demonstrate why I don't play video slots). Up $640 on the day. We did take a look at the poker room, which was running a deepstack tourney, decided it was alright, but not spectacular, and continued on our way.

We then ended up in the Tonawandas on our search for a gas station and cheap US gas. Man, does the Buffalo area still suck.

Back across the border and off to Copacabana for Brazilian BBQ. By now, people should be familiar with the endless stream of meat that come with this dining option. Stuffed, bloated, and done, we decided it was time to head out.

A call was made to the absent friend, who was "almost done". So we went to Fallsview (where we were parked) to play slots for the free parking and wait for him to show up so rides home could be better arranged.

Slots - up $60 (so now up $700 on the day) after a bad burger-girl machine, a good burger-girl machine, and a generous Monte Carlo machine. No friend call, so we leave. He finally calls us once we're in St. Catherines, hitting a traffic jam. He's waaaay behind, so we say goodnight.

The jam isn't too long and we get through... and hit another in Oakville that looks brutal. A pulloff, sideroads taken, and we're back on a clear highway and on our way. People dropped off and I'm home 2 hours later than planned. Sigh.

But the trek was good, and the first winning craps session I've seen in a while, and should have primed the one wavering gambler in the group for Vegas (winning craps sessions can do that).

Friday, July 18, 2008

Apropos Quotations

"To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight of the blood."
George Santayana (1863 - 1952)

"Fortune can, for her pleasure, fools advance,
And toss them on the wheels of Chance."
Juvenal (55 AD - 127 AD)

"Where all think alike, no one thinks very much."
Walter Lippmann (1889 - 1974)

What a triumverate of poker-appropriate quotes, all on the Google quote of the day widget at the same time. I wasn't going to write about poker today, but how do I avoid those?

Let's start with Santayana, whose most famous quote would also apply to the poker world. ("Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.") Is there any joy in poker, short of maybe a HUGE tournament win, greater than that acheived by busting the arrogant assclown? The table captain who finally leaves, silenced and grumbling. The sore loser who reloads to bust your ass and only continues to donate. The poor winner who gets his comeuppance as you lay out your well-crafted plan of attack. Me, the 17th time in a row I've got aces. Oh how we love busting these donkeys.

Juvenal's quote may bring some peace during your 253rd bad beat of the night. For those fools who have been tossed on the wheels of chance will eventually be crushed by them.

As for Lippmann's quote - I've espoused the beauty of differentiation of poker styles since I started this blog. It'd be boring if we all played the same, and when a particular style (Harrington, small ball, Brunson, etc.) sweeps over the pokerverse, I do so love playing against the sheep who aren't original enough to adjust their style away from those hard and fast rules they've learned.


Oh, I forgot to mention the Watchmen trailer before The Dark Knight. It's out there on the web too. Damn. It's really a 2 minute teaser for fans of the book, but visually it looks like it nails it. Now here's hoping all this talk of Snyder's love of the novel and his committment to being faithful to it is true. It could be awesome.

Is it sad that I didn't get the connection between "Watchmen" and Doc Manhattan being a "watch man" before he went into science until last night? The title naturally evokes the "who watches the watchers" concept, and that seemed to cloud the otherwise obvious pun.

Terminator Salvation also had a teaser... meh. The theme is still awesome, but this is looking pretty generic.

And why was there a Disney trailer? Bolt? Really? Yah, goes right along with the Batman crowd... please.

Tropic Thunder looks pretty funny though.

Have You Seen The Dark Knight Yet?

If not, why not??

I caught the midnight showing of The Dark Knight (he says, as if he just wandered by the theatre and didn't buy tickets weeks ago). WOW. What an amazing, awesome, pitch-perfect film. Seriously, go see it this weekend. That way, you'll have next weekend free to go see it again, which you'll totally want to do. Hell, if I didn't have plans tonight, I'd try and find a ticket to the IMAX screening.

Throughout this film I kept thinking "I can't wait to talk about that!" and then realized I'd be spoiling things. Any movie that starts off with me going "Holy shit! What a brilliant casting choice!" for a relatively minor character has got to be good. In this case it was Nestor Carbonell as the Mayor. Why? Because Nestor played Batmanuel in The Tick! How fucking awesome is that?

And that's about the only specific thing I can say about the movie that doesn't spoil something. Great casting, fantastic acting all around (Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Aaron Eckhart (aside aside! I just recalled Lt. Eckhardt in the 1st Burton Batman) are probably going to be totally overlooked for Heath Ledger), incredibly well-paced, great dialogue, writing, directing, effects, action... just go see it.

Yes, even you Hoy, who doesn't like superhero movies. It's a gritty crime thriller with a vigilante in a bat-suit, not a superhero movie.

Ironman was an awesome superhero movie. Batman is an awesome movie. Just go see it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Something I Won't Get Around To

I was browsing through Webtender and realized how horribly set up it is. Pure middle-era web programming that hasn't changed much.

Which of course got me thinking that I can do a better job. After all, it's not THAT hard to set up a database of drink recipes with queries for the ingredients. What needs to be done is cross-referencing of ingredients, so generic terms, brand names, and specific types are connected. ie.- Smirnoff=Vodka, Canadian Whiskey=Canadian Club=Rye, etc.. A better method of selecting from "what's in my bar" is also required. Holding CTRL to select multiple ingredients is ridiculous.

At the very least, I should set up my own personal database of my booze and mix collection (it's vast) for my own perusal.

Which then got me thinking I should do the same for my herbs and spices. Which now leads to other dried goods. Then non-perishable and long-lasting goods. Then all ingredients in my house for everything.

And once that's done, I'll obviously need to set up a tablet PC in my kitchen (or subnotebook or something) with these databases on them, with a variety of queries.

So I can simply enter "quick meal, chicken" and get a list of possible recipes. Or "random drink". This of course would necessitate web access so I can check from work what I need to pick up for a recipe. Once that's set up, it becomes trivial to set up a web page and go public with it all and build a user-generated recipe database and personalized ingredient collections.

Yah, you're so going to steal my idea. It's not like I'll ever get around to it.

Which means I'll spend this weekend itemizing my bar and spices... and DVDs while I'm at it. Or not.

Could be Interesting

First, poker. Last night's live game was lesser than expected. No problem, the tourney is crap shoot after the first hour, and I was in a good position at that point. I made some moves that failed and in the end have no regrets about how I went out.

Next - How I Escaped the Amish. This could be an interesting read. The story of a girl who "escaped" the Amish life at 15 and is now telling her story 12 years and a university degree later.

Great, now I have Weird Al in my head.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I'm still pissed off with myself after a dumbass move in the 50-50 last night.

Much like the previous evening, I was cruising along quite nicely. If I'd kept my head straight, I'd have coasted into the money if I chose. Instead, I stopped thinking and gave my chips away in one fell swoop.

A little over 200 people left, and I have A9h. I limp from EP and get raised for another 2k, which isn't a significant portion of my stack but a significant enough raise blinds-wise to let go. The problem was that this donk had shown a proclivity to raise and call with cards like K9o, so I didn't put him on much.

Long story short, AQxx two club, no heart board and I re-pop a weak turn bet by him for all my chips (an absolutely POINTLESS move since I had a great stack in the top 40 and he had me covered by a couple grand) and he flipped over AKc. No river 9 and I'm done just like that. I had convinced myself he had junk (K-high in fact) and I was going to bust him, even though the little voice was trying to tell me to run. No need to tell me what I did wrong, because that hand is full of steps of idiocy. I just needed to get it off my chest.

I went out of 32k last night when I overpushed a side-pot raise with AK (A on the board) into a turned inside straight because I slowplayed the flop. Sigh. I did something equally stupid the previous night in the 32k I believe.

But I satellited into the 50-50 from a $14 SnG, and won a $10 turbo before that, so the night showed a tiny little profit regardless. I just hate when I make totally boneheaded moves.

Oh yah... I started playing some of the larger-field MTTs again this week. I don't know why I stopped, since I love these things. Other than one-hand lapses in judgement costing me hours of effort, I really like where my game has been the past couple nights.

I'm hitting the club with Kat and her messed up ankle tonight, and I'm feeling good. I highly doubt I'll make The Mookie tonight, but you never know.

Words Fail...

Now he'd get his ass kicked in a gay cowboy bar.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Can't Believe I...

... didn't think of it myself.

There was an ill-fated attempt not once, but twice, to set up a high-speed ferry between Toronto and Rochester. When it was first announced, people thought it was a good idea. It would cut travel time to NY state, ease border congestion, and provide a nice relaxing 2.5-hour period instead of being stuck in a car with the kids. Rochester loved it because it gave them direct access to the biggest business centre in the area, and Toronto loved it because it gave us another means of cross-border shopping. Two movie theatres, satellite TV, wireless Internet access, luxury seating... it was going to be great.

Then it came to fruition and was a joke. Total trip - 3 hours 15 minutes. Toronto's terminal hadn't been built yet, and advertising petered out quickly. It took just as long to drive to Rochester if the border was clear and you drove 10-20km over the limit. The most egregious problem was the pricing. The way it was set up was that your car cost one price, and each passenger cost more on top of it. Any fuel savings were wiped out. A walk-on passenger was too pricey to make a casual trip worthwhile (something I'd thought about doing to experience it). It was a state-of-the-art vessel with morons running the show. Something simple like having a car fare include two passengers, or having a family pass would have made a big difference in my mind. Apparently the ride itself was quite nice though.

It collapsed quickly. It restarted and collapsed again. Rochester bought it and lost $2.5 million. Toronto had long lost interest. It's not owned by a German company and should be ferrying passengers between Spain and Morocco.

Except they're TRYING AGAIN and failing. This is what happens when you finally finish your $8 million terminal in Toronto and film episiodes of The Border in it. Rochester's plans for theirs include offices and commercial space. Here's the main reason why it fails : NOBODY WANTS TO GO TO ROCHESTER. If Toronto wants a useful ferry serice, then set one up to St. Catherines. It takes people close to the border, the Falls, and the Niagara region. It's short, could be done much cheaper, actually makes a difference in travel time, and doesn't have any border problems. Not my idea though - it was stated a few times in the comments over here.

The more I think about it, the more I think how useful this service could be. Lots of people in Toronto do winery tours of the Niagara region. Limos and buses will come to your house and drive you around for the day as you drink wine. Imagine if your day started with a boat ride across the lake, with a few drinks and just some fresh air. Trips to the casinos would be a no-brainer if the 1.5 hour drive was cut in half. Hell, the casinos would run free shuttles from the terminal to their doors (or at least the $5 ticket with $5 in casino play returned deal). Leafs games in Buffalo would be a piece of cake. The Bills would see even MORE Canadians come over to watch a game. It would work the other way too, with people from the Buffalo-Niagara region visiting Toronto more frequently. Stoney Creek to Buffalo would become viable feeder cities for people wanting to work in Toronto.

It makes far too much sense to ever happen. Nope... it's Rochester or bust!


I could write another multi-page post on satire, and how brilliant the latest New Yorker cover is... or I could just send you here.

If only Jonathan Swift were around today...

See You In November...

... whoever you are.

And the WSOP Main Event wraps up until November 9th. Here's the final table:

Seat 1: Dennis Phillips - 26,295,000 (M=32.46, Q=1.73)
Seat 2: Craig Marquis - 10,210,000 (M=12.60, Q=0.67)
Seat 3: Ylon Schwartz - 12,525,000 (M=15.46, Q=0.82)
Seat 4: Scott Montgomery - 19,690,000 (M=24.31, Q=1.29)
Seat 5: Darus Suharto - 12,520,000 (M=15.46, Q=0.82)
Seat 6: David 'Chino' Rheem - 10,230,000 (M=12.63, Q=0.67)
Seat 7: Ivan Demidov - 24,400,000 (M=30.12, Q=1.60)
Seat 8: Kelly Kim - 2,620,000 (M=3.23, Q=0.17)
Seat 9: Peter Eastgate - 18,375,000 (M=22.69, Q=1.21)

Yup, a virtual cornucopia of big names. At least the chips finally add up again (off by 15,000 from the starting chips, which works out to 1,666.67 per player. No big deal. Although the appearance of 666 again brings some numerological questions into play.) But what a structure. Final table, and with one exception, everyone's got some play left in their stacks.

Darus Suharto is from the mighty town of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, so he's got my support automatically. Unless he's a complete asshole. He came in 448th in the 2006 ME for $26k. 39 years old.

Scott Montgomery is from Perth, Ontario, Canada... not that far from Toronto really (about a 3.5 - 4 hour drive). So he's who I want to see heads-up with Suharto. If Suharto is an ass, then Montgomery can win :). Although his favourite starting hand is JQh. Sharkscope stats are slim (r_a_y_m_a_n_d on Full Tilt, r_a_y sm on Stars, r_a_y_ on AP, and r_a_y on UB - home of his biggest online cash for $20k.) He's won 400k this year in live tournaments. 26 years old. 27 once the final table starts.

Nice how they put the Canucks next to eachother. Conspiracy!

Pauly likes Ylon Schwartz due to his wiseass answers to the player profile questionnaire, you've got to respect that. $250k in earnings over the years.

Dennis Philips has cashed in two WSOP circuit events this year, both at Tunica within days of each other. 7th and 9th place, on the 7th and 9th, but not respectively. Total value of that? A bit less than $5k.

Craig Marquis - $35k since last year. He looks like a complete tool in his Bluff picture.

David "Chino" Rheem - Nearly $600k in the past few years. Apparently the crowd favourite. Funny how he's also got the biggest earnings so far...

Ivan Demidov - $63k in the last 3 years, including his biggest score in a $1k event at the WSOP for $39k. I'm assuming he's the Russian who didn't trust anyone so didn't have an endorsement deal locked up before yesterday's play started. Good plan on his part now that he's second in chips. Assuming the Russian mafia don't decide to become his agent.

Kelly Kim - $250k career earnings. Sunglasses are so retarded at the table. Really people. You know you want to pull for this guy though - $2.6MM shortstack at the final table with 150000/300000/40000? Average stack is 15,207,222. He just made $900k and will come back with an M of 3.23 and a Q of 0.17. The next shortest stack has almost 4x his chips. Talk about an underdog.

Peter Eastgate - $84k from the Scandi open this year. 22 years old.

So everybody's got at least SOME sort of profile out there. Not COMPLETE unknowns. Although the chipleader seems to have the least success. I imagine he'll be getting a lot of advice and offers for training before he gets to the airport to head out.

Two, count 'em, TWO Canadians at the final table. Both form Ontario. Yup, we rock.

900k... kinda makes my 42nd in the 50/50 last night seem tiny by comparison. Oh wait, that looked tiny when it happened.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Maybe My Math is Wrong...

20,000 starting chips x 6,844 players = 136,880,000

The sum of chipstacks at the start of today (numbers from Pauly's site, which I assume are from Pokernews) = 139,200,000

So that's, once again, a 2,320,000 difference between how many chips should be in play, and how many are. Or an extra 85,925 chips per player remaining... a bit more than an extra BB each.

Did I miss something?

This is our Prime Minister. Born in Toronto, raised in Toronto. Moved to Alberta (Edmonton) in his late teens, went back to school in Calgary.

Looks every bit like a Torontonian pretending to be a cowboy in this picture at the Calgary stampede. We all know that politicians pander, but does he have to be so OBVIOUSLY pandering? Pasty, baby-faced tool pretending to fit in. Hell, I'D be a more convincing cowboy and I know I'd look like a fool.

You know he'd get his ass kicked in a bar.

Strange Night

Superturboed into the $750k... and went out before the 2nd break. I played like shit.

It's okay though, I maintained that day's level of productivity by getting some other chores out of the way and catching up on some TV.

But I couldn't sleep. I was in bed around 1am, and lay there for what seemed like an eternity (likely 20 minutes), fell asleep, slept poorly, woke up at 5-something after a horrible dream, worrying about my family until I was awake enough to remember that nobody had died recently and I had spoken to them hours earlier. I almost got out of bed then to start my day hours ahead of schedule, but instead fell asleep until my alarms went off.

I've been strangely awake all day though... but still Aeropressed some fresh coffee (Indian Monsoon, roasted this morning) at work to keep me going. Green tea now to calm the caffeine buzz. Hmm.. good thing I don't do uppers and downers.

Speaking of which - finally watched Dewey Cox on the weekend - it was waaaay funnier than I expected. I mean, I'd been looking forward to it, but didn't expect to bust a gut during it. The start, the Beatles scenes, and just about anything with Tim Meadows was hilarious. Kick-ass soundtrack too. I expected terrible songs, but instead they were actually decent yet still funny. A pretty spot-on musical bio parody.

Also watched Before the Devil Knows Your Dead... and was disappointed. Well-acted, but a bit contrived. The problem with a caper like this is that it relies too much on clichés. The successful character who's broke because of his drug habit. The dumber brother who means well but is broke because of child support and private school bills in New York. Troubled family relationships, affairs, and plans gone wrong. The jumping-back-in-time-to-tell-the-story-from-different-points-of-view aspect was a bit tiresome too, but that could be because I watched Vantage Point a month ago. It all felt familiar. Marisa Tomei was plenty hot though. Oh, and it referenced Blame it on Rio, so there's that.

Side note - if putting your kid through school in New York is too expensive, and you have a job that doesn't pay the bills but is easily transferable to cheaper locales... MOVE.

Will be seeing The Dark Knight at a midnight screening this week... I can't wait.

Congrats to Iggy for his cash in the WSOP ME. $30k might not be HUGE money, but it ain't nothing either.

MATH is tonight as always. Double shootout format continues, which I'm totally not against. I still think 3k to start is too much for 6-handed DS though. I may be there... it depends on how awake I am.

I'm definitely looking forward to Sunday. Heading to Niagara to roll some dice in the afternoon. Been too long since I've played craps for any significant length of time (I think CK and I put in 30 minutes in Vegas). I highly doubt there'll be any poker though.

Friday, July 11, 2008

More on ME


6844 entrants.
20,000 chips per player.
So that's 136,880,000 chips in play.

474 players left.
Based on the Pokernews chipcounts, there's currently 136,658,050 chips in play.

That's 221,950 missing chips. Granted, that's only 468 missing chips per player, or less than an ante, so it's understandable in terms of miscounts. Or possibly it's result of how they colour-up. Be interesting to keep an eye on the number as play progresses though.

Anyway... irrelevant to the dwarf's status.

25 players with an M < 5. 95 players with an M < 10. 179 players with an M < 15 (Iggy among them). 243 with an M < 20... or better than half the field.

35 Q < 0.25 and 130 Q < 0.5.

So he's in decent shape... against the field.

But his table shapes up worse. He's got the #2 guy to the right, and he's got less than 30k more than the shortstack at his table. Average stack for his table is 417,812 chips. It drops his Q to 0.42, which is significant.

So if you're Iggy, how to you play with an M of 14 and Q of 0.42 with a huge stack two to your right? Directly on his right is a fairly successful player ($642k in earnings, including over $30k in last year's ME) who has twice his chips. The shortstack, with 29,000 less chips is directly to his left, which could be good for a while, but not for long unless that guy is really weak-tight. Other than the shortstack, he's only a real threat to one other player who has 230k and is three to his left.

Oh, and Justin Scott won the $2,000 NLHE event in 2006 for $842k. Everyone else has small wins in big tournaments it seems, so they might be out of their elemen

He could probably fold to the next level, which is only $1,930 more... or not. I've got faith in the little guy. Once the dust settles, he'll either have triple his current stack or be solidly drunk.

GOOOOOOOO IGGY! You can do it!

Not Bad For a Drunken Whim

Iggy's made the money and day 4!

160,000 177,500 chips in front of everyone's favourite dwarf.
474 players left - avg stack is 288,776
Which puts him in 298th place
$27,020 minimum paid at this point

So that's not too shabby for a guy who played in a satellite on Stars at the last minute in a drunken haze. The man's going to end up winning this thing. I hope there's a party.

Of course, Pokernews only lists 284 players' chip counts. Getting shoddy over there. Or maybe it will look better after they've had some sleep. Pokernews has the chipcounts and numbers updated properly now.

I believe blinds will start at 2500/5000 with a 500 ante.

Means his M is 13.33 14.79, and his Q is 0.55 0.61. Draw your own conclusions on how he should play when play starts at 1pm PST. I mean, I've never been sitting on $27k with over $9 million more up for grabs, or even played in an event close to the ME, what do I know?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Go Iggy!

Yah, everyone knows Iggy's made day 3 in the Main Event.

Interestingly, Pokernews says 1,307 left, but only list 1,302 in the chipcount... they're also short 402,666 chips in their total count, which means the 5 missing players have an average of 80,000 chips. Anyway, I'm sure they just missed a player or 5... easy to do when dealing with over 1300.

Iggy's got 86,700 Chips.
Average stack for 1,307 players - 104,728
Blinds starting at 800/1600/200

So his M is 20.64. Q is around 0.83. Of course, that's against the remaining field, which is less important than his table at this point. Regardless, he's in decent shape if the distribution of chips isn't skewed to his table. At the very least, he should be able to keep up with the blinds at that level, and we know he can increase that stack easily enough, especially if his power of getting chips dumped his way come into effect.

He's in a 3-way tie for 655th place at the moment, with 666 paying out, and 641 needed to drop before they hit the payout. Over $21k for the last payout spot, which isn't too shabby.

248 players with an M < 10, 432 with M < 15, and 612 with M < 20 (all numbers include the lower amounts)... so most of those 641 could be gone within a few hours. Of course, as the bubble approaches, play will slow to a crawl, but with more than 650 players, it can't go THAT slowly, can it?

We may see it burst before the day is done.

Enough numbers - Good Luck Ignatious, we're all pulling for ya.

Morality Thinkpiece

I was thinking a bit about Waffles' question re: Perticelli's statement re: Mini-donk playing poker (assuming that's what it was about).

I first played poker before I was a teenager. Let's say 11 or 12 years old. Granted, it was on a computer (before there really was an "on-line" beyond 300 baud modems connecting to someone's BBS) and it was terrible. I'd heard of poker before that, but really knew very little.

So, would I teach my kids poker (if I had kids)? Absolutely. Would I let them play online? Yes. But not for money. Let's be realistic here. If I have a computer, and the Full Tilt icon sitting on the desktop, my kids will 100% load that shit up and play, whether I allow it or not. So I might as well allow it and supervise it. Play money only. Could they play in my home game? Nope. They can watch, be there, but nothing bigger than penny-ante for them until they're older. Older being somewhere in their teens.

I MIGHT make an exception with a blogger game though - transfer them a buy-in and then take back any winnings from the account (but I'd give them the actual cash in the real world). We all know too well how slippery that slope is though. Soon enough, my 12 year-old would be schooling Hoy. Of course, with all this would be lessons in bankroll management, appreciation of money, and financial responsibility. Or something.

That was a long-winded way of getting the the point of this post - what do we do or use that we might find unpalatable in other situations?

For these examples, imagine that you've come across a city that is completely isolated from the rest of the world. Be it a lost tribe, or a city on another planet, whatever works for you. They have never before experienced or heard of the things being discussed. You are the first person who could introduce them to it.

Poker/Gambling - They have no concept of putting up a possession or money in the hopes of winning more based on statistics alone. Any games they play are purely for the fun of it. Perhaps the closest they've come is flipping a coin to decide who does what chore - something fair and equitable. Do you teach THEM poker? How about for money? Let's face it, you can't keep score in poker without some sort of token, or chip. Do these necessarily need to have a value associated with them in the real world? What about blackjack? Craps? any other house-favoured game that has the sole purpose of separating people from their possessions? You'd make a killing with these rubes.

Alcohol - Setting up a still is easy - some tubing, heat, containers, and rotting fruit. Some grains and yeast and you can make beer. Grapes for wine. Everyone has rough days and could use something to relax them. Again, you'd make a fortune being the only game in town for booze. But the social ills associated with drunkeness are known. Sure, prohibition doesn't work, but what if booze was unknown? The obvious comparison would be the introduction of "fire-water".

Drugs - See alcohol. Although more difficult to set up, there's doubtless some plants nearby and whatnot that can be refined to a more potent form. Some peyote or morning glory seeds perhaps. The plant over there looks oddly familiar...

Swearing - the f-word flows easily from most of us, but do you teach an entire group of people words that are meant to be "dirty"? Do other ills stem from language?

Lawyers - Disputes are settled through arbitration and common sense. People seem happy with this. Do you introduce the intricacies of law and those whose job it is to interpret and bend these minutae to the will of their client?

Money - It is the root of all evil. Do you replace a system of barter and fair exchange for one of currency and symbolic goods? Let's face it, money is nothing more than a metaphor for something else. Centuries ago, a cow was good for 2 pigs, or room and board could be bought for a some jokes and songs. Nowadays, our skills are unrelated to our goods. In many ways, this is a good thing, but is the darker side of this system enough to make you pause?

Just some examples of things we take for granted here. Some of these we deal with everyday, others are already the cause of social upheaveal. Most of them we don't have a problem with, because we're adults and make our own choices, or they're the norm. But when they become a foreign agent, do their corruptive sides make them unpalatable? Just something to think about.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Maybe I Should Charge $0.15 to Read

Not that it'll do anything, but this whole incoming text message thing is fucking retarded. So here's a petition from the NDP. At least they're loud.

Stop the text message cash-grab

I do believe I'll bitch at my friend who works for Mobility, even though he has nothing to do with this whole fiasco. He just sets up the antennae.

Go congratulate Don on his 300th post. To say it's a touch sarcastic would be understating things.

For those that love our little dramas, check out Perticelli's latest. The comments are where the real gold is.

I do believe I avoided playing any poker last night.... and it feels goooood.

Okie-Vegas is kicking off today. I hope everyone who's going has an absolute blast and gets back home in one piece... two at the most. I really wanted to go, but opted to stay home instead. Too much travelling of late, and undoubtedly more to come.

As for this Google situation. I'm unaffected, seeing as I don't have any ads to add nofollow tags to. I can't say I've looked over Google's terms and conditions, but let's assume the nofollow thing was there for a while and everyone just got caught in their latest sweep. The advertisers were well aware of this and should be the ones blamed - not Google. They weren't using you for your traffic, they were using you to improve their pagerank, and deliberately left out the nofollow tags from their ads to achieve that end. Google's done this countless times, and this time you're the ones that got caught. Perhaps Pastor Niemöller would have something to say about it. There are avenues to rectify this situation, but it requires you adding the nofollow tags if your pagerank is that important.

Of course, if Google just added that term of service, feel free to keep it directed at them.

Mookie tonight as always. See you there?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Donna Ex Machina

I was going to write up the Doctor Who season finale, but naw... still, spoilers. Highlight to read.

Very good episode, got a bit cheesy at the end, then predictable. Sad what happens to Donna, but at least she got be to the god from the machine for this finale. I'm glad Davies is finishing his run with the show. He's made some entertaining stuff, but he can't write himself out of the impossible-to-escape plots without a good DEM coming into play. At least this one seemed planned.

It was admittedly fun seeing everyone together - Sarah Jane, Rose, Jackie, Mickey, Jack, Martha, Donna, K9, etc.. Good score choices as well, very moving. Lots of possible pathways opened as well for future stories, and it looks like Torchwood continues with some familiar faces


Check out this alternate Dark Knight script. Yah, it's obviously not real, but damned if I didn't laugh a few times.


MATH - Shootout is good, but 3k starting chips is bad for round 1. I got bored and donked out with 2nd pair vs bottom set.


The description they give before the pictures is pretty much bang on. What $10 Mil will get you in a Toronto suburb. I personally love the Ferrari in the foyer... if I was 12.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Random Monday

Let's start with some states of matter:

Gas - widely-spaced molecules without a defined shape or volume. Can generally be walked through with minimal effort.

Liquid - more dense than gas, defined volume, no defined shape. Liquids often require more effort to pass through than gas.

Solid - closely-spaced molecules, defined shape and volume. Very difficult to pass other matter through.

People are largely liquid, but are more defined by their solid parts. A subway is very solid. The doorways on a subway are there to remove some of this solid material so our solid parts can pass from the inside of the subway to the outside. These doorways have defined, immutable shapes.


Please, if you can't move away from the door due to the people behind you, then STEP OUTSIDE THE DOOR and let everyone one. Then you can GET BACK ON! I know, it's a crazy concept.

Now we've all learned some science... which totally sucks of course.


Saw Southland Tales last night - odd movie. Great cast, interesting story and concept, but not exactly well-defined. You'd think 182 minutes would be enough time to tell a story, but I think some of the cut footage from the longer cut needs to be put back in. I doubt it would explain the more metaphysical aspects of the film, but some of the lines and actions might make more sense if whatever they're referencing was shown.

Dwayne Johnson was the central character and was once again the best part of a movie. I'm glad to see The Rock avoid the action hero role he could have slogged through as a wrestler. He's got great comic ability and charisma to burn. If he can just make his acting seem less like acting (not that it's terrible by any means), he'd be set.

Also, I really like Seann William Scott in it. Who knew Stifler could act?

Anyway, I think I need to watch it again. It's not Donnie Darko by any means, but there's something worthwhile in there.


NEWSFLASH: Toronto is on the shores of Lake Ontario! We have islands! I went to them yesterday. Many pictures were taken. Thing is - the islands are actually kind of boring once you get away from the touristy area. It's a nice walk, and very peaceful and relaxing (other than a desire to push oblivious cyclists off their bikes), but not tremendously exciting.


Shitty that the Power Couple busted from the WSOP ME on Day 1. But hey, The Blogfather is heading to day 2 with 38k in chips. What are the odds of Iggy stumbling his way to a win? I mean, the guy drunkenly plays in a satellite and wins it, without ever intending to go the WSOP this year. Then he claims he somehow made it to day 2 despite being outplayed and outchipped all day long. Of course, he'd have to win the whole thing with The Hammer.

At least Riggs and Al are in Vegas. Poor Las Vegas, it was such a nice, quaint, quiet, peaceful, God-fearing town... now these two are going to turn it into a den of iniquity and sin.


MATH shootout tonight! Also the end of that Sunday buy-in experiment. Good riddance. Will I be present? Probably. I've got a small pile of chores to get out of the way first though... and a craving for breaded chicken.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Nobody's Reading Anyway

Happy Independence Day to you Yanks out there. What is it now? 232 years? And you don't look a day over 230.

And good luck to anyone hitting their Day 1 in the ME, and anyone else chilling in Vegas this weekend. Make us proud.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Flurry of Acquisitionss

Leafs talk.

Since the July 1st floodgates opened, the Leafs have acquired (largely through free agency): Curtis Joseph, Jeff Finger, Niklas Hagman, and Mikhail Grabovski.

Joseph - Once again the Leafs grab a player for the second time. Cujo ain't what he used to be, but he's just fine as a backup goaltender. Definitely an improvement over Raycroft. I think his real value will be in mentoring Toskala, and possibly Pogge. I imagine there be plans afoot to keep him in the office once he's done playing. He's also the most likely member of the team (barring a Sundin return) to be the locker room leader. We need some sort of veteran presence, and Jason Blake don't cut it.

Finger - Who? He'd just be a footnote if not for the fact he was signed for 4 years at $14 million. Seriously? Dude played 72 games last year for the Avalanche, was benched for 10 of their playoff games, and made the league minimum I think. Hell of a pay raise. Word is he's a solid stay-at-home defenceman, with a +12 rating and 19 points last year. Toss in our draft pick and I think we can see where the Leafs are heading - Detroit emulation. Cheaper, decent goaltending, and a strong defence corps. Not that they'll achieve Red Wings-like success for years. It's a good start though, and definitely the only way they'll be remotely competitive for the next couple seasons.

Hagman - 4 years, $12 mil. 27 goals, 41 points last season with Dallas. A bit of a journeyman at 28 years old. Last year was a career year for him, so naturally the Leafs stepped up and overpaid. I don't really know enough about him to predict, but here's hoping he can repeat. At least 20 goals would be nice.

Grabovski - Young guy traded from Montreal. 24 years old, 24 games last year, 10 points. Cliff sees an upside from his Worlds performance, let's hope he's right. Some Habs fans seem unhappy with the trade, so that's a good sign.

The elephant in the room is still Mats Sundin. Offered $20 mil for 2 years from Vancouver, as well as decent offers from Montreal and New York, he's still at home deciding. It could take weeks or a month for him to make up his mind if he even wants to play. Is there a chance he comes back to Toronto? Sure, but it's slim. He claims to love the city, and the fans love him. If he said yes, signed a 2 year deal worth round $15 mil... he'd get a standing O when steps on the ice in October. I still think he's just as likely to retire as accept an offer.

Then there's McCabe. Greedy, overrated, or easily influenced by his greedy agent or wife depending what you listen to. A simple waive of his no-movement clause and he's off to a team that wants him and it helps the Leafs. But no, he's stubbornly refusing to move, which means the Leafs either play him or buy him out. Buying him out makes no sense financially, so it won't happen. They could be better off leaving him at home until he changes his mind, because right now his presence would be a cancer to the team, regardless of his attitude. If they played him, he'd need to have career years from here forward to stave off the wrath of the fans.

But what the Leafs are doing right now is exactly what they need to. Medium-quality players and young guys who could develop into something... and if not, no major harm. This is a team that's rebuilding, and seriously needs to tank this season to get some more quality youth in the Blue & White. Finger's price tag is nuts, but if he pans out to be a good pairing with Schenn on penalty kills and against tough lines? It's money well spent.

They still won't amount to anything this season, but they could win a few low-scoring games and trap like it's their job - because it is.

Back to Live

On the spur of the moment, I decided to hit my local club last night. I checked out the website and was surprised to discover there were still a few seats available for the tournament.

The tournament started well, with me doubling my stack over a few hands thanks to an abundance of flopped sets and being aggressive enough to scare out the threats. An overcard on a board was good enough for me to push out 99 with my set of 3's before her 9 hit the river (3rd player all-in). 99 had recently been unable or unwilling to let go of aces after being 3-bet HU on the flop by a guy holding TP2K - about 5 minutes in. He was steamed for the rest of the night... hanging around, not playing the cash game, and finally unloading his tale of woe onto a friend during the first break. I stifled a laugh as he tried to defend his play as a cagey bluff. "How could she think I have anything less than 2 pair there? Can't fucking let go of aces." It was pretty obvious to me that he though his Q with a K kicker was gold.

Unfortunately, I lost my dealer who was rich with sets as our table broke. The game didnt' go so well from there. Severe card death met me in the face of aggression and the horrible structure these things get after the first hour. KK held up against a J8 bluff that flopped a straight draw, but then I had to toss ATo when two all-ins came after me - KK and QQ. If I'd called, I would have lost half my stack to the shortie who turned a set of Q's, and won it back from KK when the A rivered. Instead, I had an unfortunately-sized stack left over. AKs did me in when I pushed my miniscule chips into 55 and AT - with the AT rivering a J-high straight to beat us both. At least I picked up a bounty.

So I hit the cash game, because I need more work there than anything else. Not unusually, the table was limp-heavy, and at my club, if you limp, you're in for just about any reasonable raise. Then this hand happened:

9 limpers. I have 6c7c on the button
Flop comes 5s8cAc
SB bets $15 into a pot of $18
BB raises to $30
all-in for $50
raise to $120

I ponder. The whole table is wondering what the hell is going on and a crowd is starting to gather with $233 in the pot on a strange flop at a $1/2 table. I figure there's at least one better flush draw out there, maybe two pair or a set, and a strong ace. I figure I'm only worried about the bigger flush draw, and figure it to either be the all-in for $50, or one of the early raisers. The $120 raise smells like a made hand trying to push out the draws and isolate.

I announce all-in, push forward about $240 chips, and the table erupts. "What the fuck is going on??" "What a pot!"

SB grumbles, debates, and mucks.
BB agonizes, implies that he has the nut flush draw under his breath, and finally mucks.
$120 calls without much thought, I get about $20-$30 back.

Nobody flips over their cards. One of the regulars/staff/fish who was long out of the hand says "someone's got the 67c, someone has a set, and someone's got AK or some crap."

The turn is a brick.
The river is a glorious 4s, giving me the stone cold nuts.

I flip over my 67 and the other two muck with resignation. I couldn't be much happier with the $430 or thereabouts that comes my way. $15 to the dealer (same guy who'd been dealing me sets in the tournament) and I'm the big stack.

Which I then managed to bleed away over the next 2 1/2 hours until I was below my starting stack. I got no strong starting cards, and caught absolutely nothing with what I did play. I couldn't bluff without being called multi-ways, and if I did catch something remotely playable, I'd win small pots. So I upped the aggression on my final orbit. This coincided nicely with some cards.

AKs with a 2-spade all-low otherwise uncoordinated flop, HU. 2/3 pot bet, and I call. Brick turn, pot bet, and I call. Flushed on the river, check, and I OBFV and get the fold.

A few hands later, I see 57s and limp. Then I see pot odds as a raise to my left gets called all around. Flop comes 4s6sKx. Same guy as the AK bets and I call. Turn is a 5, he bets, I call. River 5 for trips. He bets big, and I call, not realizing how little he has left behind. Trips are good.

For that last hand, bear in mind the club has a running jackpot. A straight flush last night was worth around $200, but it has to reach a showdown. There was no way I was getting away from that hand or betting it aggressively in that case, as the jackpot would more than double the pot.

That last orbit brought me to $115 up in the cash game. Take out the tournament buy-in, add the bounty, and I was up $80 on the night. Not a great hourly rate, but after pissing away the chips I had won earlier, I was happy to be up at all, and left verifying what I'd been feeling for the past couple weeks - I'm not sick of poker, I'm just tired with it online.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Video of the Day

This just radiates good vibes.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Plus, it was cool to see how many of those places I could say "Hey, I stood right there." Not nearly as many as I'd like though.


It's always a bit odd when a holiday falls in the middle of the week. We're so used to Monday and Friday holidays that it throws us off when Canada Day sneaks in on a Tuesday. What exactly are supposed to do with this day? We can't stay up all night partying because work still starts the next day.

Me? I stayed inside in my housecoat all day long. I woke up at 11am, and promptly fell back asleep for 2.5 more hours. I had a dream where I was Batman in a fancy European-style casino (but in North America). I used my invisibility field to spy on people. Yes, I was creepy Batman. This went on for a while before I walked past a private poker game where Gaius Baltar waved me in to play. They were playing for peanut butter, and after I stacked Baltar, he borrowed some PB from someone else and won a small pot. He then put his PB into my jar, picked it up and left. I chased after him, but he was already down the hall. I finally followed him through a small tunnel that opened up at an underground poker room in Israel. I threatened him, but he maintained it was HIS jar (although it was obviously my Costco-sized jar), and that he'd lost it anyway. Meanwhile, I've had to carry around a ball of peanut butter, constantly tossing it between my hands to keep it from sticking. I knew he had hid it in the coatcheck downstairs, but as I headed in that direction, I woke up.

Let's call that an entertaining way to start a lazy, lock-the-doors day. I achieved minimal productivity, and played video games, watched Terminator on TV (censored though - lame), a bit of poker that I just wasn't in to, and cooked a bit.

Lunch/Breakfast/first meal/whatever - BLT. Whole grain bread, applewood smoked cheddar, boar bacon (from my elk guy), romaine, spray-free tomato, fresh ground sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and miracle whip, all pressed in my panini maker.

Then I brewed some fresh-ground coffee (although roasted months ago), and filtered it over ice and crème brûlée ice cream for a delcious iced coffee.

Dinner - spread out over hours - Raw snap peas, corn on the cob, pan-fried potatoes, with red onion and garlic, covered in chives from my folks' garden, fresh made gravy (butter, flour, beef stock, herbs, spices, gravy flavouring), and farm-fresh cheese curds. Yah, I can't even do poutine without gussying it up. Desserts were strawberry-rhubarb pie and banana cake.

All-in-all, exactly the day I needed. A shame I didn't bother getting dressed to check out the fireworks. I love fireworks.

Oh, and I can't wait to see Saturday's Dr. Who. Season finale and all. Say what you will about Russell T. Davies' ability to write sci-fi, he builds up some awesome finales. Of course, this will once again end with some sort of retarded Deus ex machina plot device that will ruin an otherwise great episode.

Speaking of writers - go on over to The Goat's blog and wish him well on his novel. He's off poker for a year to see if he can't get a good book out of himself. Personally, I doubt he'll have a problem, and can't wait to have a look.